Developer Zenimax Online Studios has confirmed that disc-based copies of The Elder Scrolls Online for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will require users to register a unique code. Thus, people who buy a second-hand copy or rent the MMORPG will be locked out.
"You will need a unique game registration code in order to play the game, and used copies will not be eligible to receive a key if the code has already been redeemed," a developer said in the game's forums.
"The code included in the box is to activate your ESOTU account and the discs are for installation purposes," Zenimax said. "If you own the disc but don't have a key, you'll be able to install the game and reach the login screen, but you won't be able to log in and access the game without an active ESOTU account."
Since The Elder Scrolls Online has not yet been released for consoles, it remains to be seen how rental companies like Gamefly and Red Box, along with retailers like GameStop and Best Buy, will handle this situation. You would hope they would alert shoppers to the game's unique scenario.
We'll have more information as it becomes available.